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Upright Women Wanted

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  2,214 ratings  ·  596 reviews
In Upright Women Wanted, award-winning author Sarah Gailey reinvents the pulp Western with an explicitly antifascist, near-future story of queer identity.

"That girl's got more wrong notions than a barn owl's got mean looks."

Esther is a stowaway. She's hidden herself away in the Librarian's book wagon in an attempt to escape the marriage her father has arranged for her--a
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published February 4th 2020 by
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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 ·  2,214 ratings  ·  596 reviews

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Chaima ✨ شيماء
When Esther Augustus witnesses the public hanging of her lover, Beatriz, for "deviance" and "the possession of unapproved materials, the fire in her is smothered, and something else inside her stumbles to the edge of a precipice, falls off. Esther wonders, not for the first time, what reason it is to cling so stubbornly to her defiance when the current is pulling so hard in the other direction. Esther then decides to run away to join the Librarians in the hope that the company of such chaste, ...more
Emily (emilykatereads)
Dec 18, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: anticipated-2020
be gay, do crimes, circulate books

is tor pandering to me
Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
Dec 11, 2018 marked it as tbr-unreleased
"The future American Southwest is full of bandits, fascists, and queer librarian spies on horseback trying to do the right thing. " OH WOW CATCH ME CRYING FRIENDS
Dec 03, 2019 rated it liked it
This was a popular ARC in my office at the library, for obvious reasons! I really wanted to love the book (queer! subversive! librarians!) but it just didn't click for me. I think it's mainly that I, a humble ace, could not understand how the protagonist could go from mourning her best friend/lover (who was JUST executed) to eyeballing the hot enby trainee librarian in the space of a single day. Perhaps this seems perfectly normal to allosexuals and wouldn't bother other readers at all, but to ...more
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
After watching her best friend/secret love of her life hang for possessing "unapproved materials" (resistance propaganda), Esther learns her high-ranking government official father has arranged for her to marry the man who was engaged to her dead lover.

It's time for Esther to make an escape and she does so by hiding in a librarian's book wagon.  She's spent her entire life pretending to be someone else in order to survive in a fascist society.  Continuing the role as a librarian --- an upright
Elise (TheBookishActress)
"What Sarah Gailey's upcoming novella lacks in hippos, it makes up for with queer librarian spies on horseback" - Tor's blurb for this
Shaun Hutchinson
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Now I want to be a librarian.
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook-owned, arc
3.5 stars- This is a high concept SF that mostly delivers on its premise and is, even more importantly, fun. Picture it: ye dystopia future in The West. We've got a plucky band of Librarians who are ostensibly a part of the State's institutional arm meant to reinforce a regressive social order, but we quickly learn (along with our point of view character) that this band is more than it seems. I loved the thematic content of this, and much prefer this version of those themes over its predecessor, ...more
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
Explicitly antifa, queer librarians... here goes again, publishing things that are directly my brand
The Captain
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Ahoy there me mateys!  I loved the author's books about hippo cowboys even though I didn't enjoy their fantasy novel.  So I was excited that their newest novella was once again set in the American West and deals with queer librarian spies on horseback.  I mean how can ye not get excited about that?  I got even more excited when Matey Tammy @ books,bones,andbuffy sent me a surprise copy of the novella.  She be awesome (seriously)!  Arrrr!

I really, really enjoyed this one.  Only a few small issues
Amy Imogene Reads
Feb 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, read-in-2020
4 stars

Resistance Librarians in a future Wild West. When one girl escapes her good-for-nothing town to find a place where she can be free to love who she wants, she's taken on the desert adventure of a lifetime.

Concept: ★★★★★
Pacing: ★★★
Characters: ★★★★

This is a short novel, so I'll make my review short and sweet.

Upright Women Wanted is great. It had a fantastic title, so I picked it up. I read the blurb "fight the State, be a Librarian" and I got excited. Then I opened it up, and I read it in
This was a super fun, very queer alternative future western novella. Esther is escaping her territory in grief over her BFF/GF being hung and being forced to get engaged to a terrible dude by her authoritarian father. She stows away in the Librarian's wagon. Their official story is they deliver "Approved Materials" but they are really radical queer spies on horseback who aren't afraid to use their rifles. Esther learns the ropes of life on the road and falls for the librarian's nonbinary ...more
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
This was cute and a few of the characters were great, but the story was really thin. I felt like the author just wanted to showcase these particular characters, not to tell a story really. The setting of the American West in a near future where gasoline was not readily available could have been rich, but we dont really see enough of that society. Overall 2.5⭐ ...more
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to love this, but ended up only liking this. I liked the idea of librarians travelling around an old West-like future, disseminating acceptable materials. The world is violent, difficult, with towns protected by Sheriffs, people needing papers attesting to their identities, tightly controlled information and lack of tolerance for difference.
What I had a hard time grasping was what the world was like. Something had happened in our future to render the world to the state it's in at the
The Nerd Daily
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Beth Mowbray Publishing has developed quite a name for themselves when it comes to incredibly well-written, weird, and original science fiction and fantasy reads. And Sarah Gaileys upcoming novella, Upright Women Wanted, is no exception!

Playing off the classic western genre, Gailey kicks up dust, sweeping the reader away to a world they wont soon want to leave. A future, near-dystopian, world where the State controls everything from
Anyway, now I want to join a band of queer librarians travelling on a horseback and maybe find l*ve and f*mily. Hm.
That was so gay <3
Feb 27, 2020 rated it liked it
**Macmillan has now reversed its position on the embargo mentioned below:

I was really looking forward to this. I absolutely loved River of Teeth and Taste of Marrow, and the alt-history with a Western feel that Gailey captured so well there. In Upright Women Wanted we have near future with a Western feel, but unfortunately I didn't feel Gailey pulled it off quite so successfully.

The main problem I think for me was that the world building was just not
Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)
CW: sexism, homophobia, and executions

I really enjoyed this latest book by Gailey! They did a fantastic job with this short little thing, wrapping it in a concise plot with characters that left me wanting more. I'd love it if they revisited this world again because I'd definitely read another book or two. I want to know more about the world just in general, but I also want to just see more of the characters, especially Esther and Cye's relationship!
This was a man who would let her go, if she was nice and pliant and didnt cause trouble. This was a man who wanted her to be the kind of woman who liked to hear sweetheart, and that was a role she knew how to play. She could escape, safe. She could go back to a life of hiding who she was, playing the role assigned to her. She could do it if she wanted to. But she wasnt sure she wanted to.

This was so good! Granted I think I have read all of Gailey's full-length works and they have all been really
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Queer librarians on horseback in a dystopian American future? Sure! Upright Women Wanted is Handmaids Tale meets the Wild West in a little novella that left me curious about the wider world. Esther is on the run after her best friend and lover was hanged for possessing Unapproved Materials. She hopes to cure herself of her attraction to women by joining the Librarians, but quickly discovers that things are not as she had thought. It's a short book, so I won't say too much more about the plot, ...more
laurel [suspected bibliophile]
Esther is a stowawaya stowaway who got caught. After trying to convince the Librariansthose upright, morally virtuous distributors of Appropriate Materialsthat she belongs and needs to join them, Esther begins to realize that the Librarians aren't as just as they pretend to be. They're part of the resistance, and out to deliver a package to safety from the authoritarian patriarchy ruling over the country.

I was intrigued and entranced by this Western-inspired dystopian, which took the idealized
I think it was a few months ago that I first saw the cover for this book, which while it looked interesting with an equally intriguing title - it was the blurb talking about queer librarian spies on horseback in future American Southwest that sealed the deal that I had to read this one. I never expected to get the ARC but I did request on a whim, so imagine my surprise when I got approved for it. And I just had the urge to read it immediately and it was so much fun.

Its kinda difficult to
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq
Me: I hate Westerns
Sarah Gailey:
Me: I hate MOST Westerns
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The nitty-gritty: Queer Librarians take on the Man in this rolicking, imaginitive Wild West tale. 

Esther was, she realized, nothing more than a hand of cards in a poker game between these three women. She was only a symbol. She wasnt the thing they were playing for. And like a bad hand, she could be discarded at any moment.

Sarah Gailey
Ash | Wild Heart Reads
Upright Women Wanted is a short, sharp and shiny novella filled with queer librarians on horseback, rebellion and the distribution of Unapproved Materials. It's a futuristic, dystopian wild west like you've never seen. 

Esther journey was a fantastic one to follow - it was so great to watch her come into her own. We see her go on a journey - not just one of finding her strength but also one of accepting who she is and that there's more than out there for people like her than a tragic ending. It
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
2.5 I guess this was fine but I wont remember a word of it in six months Stars.

I loved Sarah Gaileys American Hippo books, so I keep picking up her other work and expecting better than what I end up getting.

While this is a far better book than Magic for Liars in terms of narrative quality, it suffers from the same problem of being far, far better in concept than in execution.

Parts of this are cute and charming, but mostly the whole thing feels flat. Add in a protagonist who melodramatically
Sep 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Much like Pet, this reads almost like a fable for 2020, using a new future as an environment to speak to queerness, resistance, police states, and censorship. Enjoyed this one.
Mar 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Popsugar 2020 Reading Challenge
Read a Western
(This isn't a true western but I'm counting it *shrugs*)

This was an interesting world. It's a futuristic western. Something happened in this world (a large scale war I believe) that caused them to revert back to living life as the people depicted in "westerns" lived (wagons, six shooters, sheriffs and their posse, travel on the dusty open road by horseback). Cars, diesel fuel, electricity and other modern things exist but they are scarce. The
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“She wanted that satisfaction. She wanted it for herself wanted it like a half-starved alley-rat watching that table through a window on a bellyaching night. She didn't know how to get it—but she had a feeling that if she stuck with the Librarians for long enough, she might be able to figure it out. How to feast instead of starving.

How to like the person who she was instead of fighting it.”
“...a sharp edge on the words. It was a tone Esther recognized. The kind of dangerous that would have been hard to notice if she hadn't heard it a hundred times before. It was the danger of assumed authority. Amity thought of herself as more important than the librarians. Thought her work was more urgent. Esther had grown up in a house with that same kind of importance. She knew what happened when it was challenged. She knew what people who thought of themselves that way would do, just to protect the idea that they had the right to do it.” 0 likes
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